| Posted in Music

Johns steals show with solo debut

New look ... Daniel Johns first ever solo gig at The Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid

New look … Daniel Johns first ever solo gig at The Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid Sydney. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Source: News Corp Australia

DANIEL Johns won Vivid Live and staked his claim to be one of Australia’s most exciting solo artists with his debut performance at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday.

The only thing you really need to know is that Johns looks and sounds sexy as hell.

But here’s why.

Shrouded by a scrim at the front of the Concert Hall stage, the white tuxedoed artist presented a theatric, sensual persona and show to announce his arrival with the single Aerial Love.

The artist usually clothed in black was enlightened in white with his RnB Prince meets Frank Ocean stylin’ persona.

Johns was the first Vivid performer on the festival main stage who fully embraced the opportunities offered by the winter festival to put on a show which stirred the visual senses with as much power as the aural assault of his pristine vocals.

Light fantastic ... Johns’ show stirred the visual senses. Picture: Stephen Cooper

Light fantastic … Johns’ show stirred the visual senses. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Source: News Corp Australia

As his debut solo album fights for No. 1 this week with Hillsong and Eurovision offerings, Johns presented a dramatically reinvented creative self with an electronically anchored set which, shock horror, featured a harpist front and centre.

Beautiful to watch and hear, he stalked the stage, he coaxed the intrigued and appreciative crowd to go with him on this most magical ride.

As he stripped off his white layers to show off that toned physique, unveiled most recently at the APRA Awards, the squeals rivalled those at a boy band show.

The songs of his Talk album shone brightly in this setting, trading their inherent darkness for the creatively affirming live statement.

Act of seduction ... Johns stalked the stage, coaxing the intrigued and appreciative crow

Act of seduction … Johns stalked the stage, coaxing the intrigued and appreciative crowd. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Source: News Corp Australia

Landing somewhere between Bowie and Timberlake with a ridiculously healthy dose of Prince, the performance and its state-of-the-art lighting were world class.

And let’s talk about THAT voice.

For those used to hearing it disguised by the distortion of a full assault rock band, the depth and sweetness of its range was astonishing.

He was unprepared for the adulation even as he courted it: as he told me last week he had decided an arrogant persona was his default frontman position for Daniel Johns live.

But that was a naive cop out for a man who knows what gets a crowd going after 20 years in the business.

A feast for the senses, songs including the hit-in-waiting Dissolve and By My Side rose to the occasion of his first performance.

Solo start ... Johns’ post Silverchair dream is now his future. Picture: Stephen Cooper

Solo start … Johns’ post Silverchair dream is now his future. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Source: News Corp Australia

He made one slight concession to his rock youth playing guitar on Going On 16.

And them there was his complaint about not being match fit before asking how his hometown team Newcastle Knights were doing.

Current single Cool As Fire deserves to be one of the anthems of 2015.

He also wins the sexiest band of the year.

Unexpectedly he busted out a rearranged version of Silverchair’s biggest hit Straight Lines which the crowd shouted back, striking the connection with old and new his fans craved.

There was also a nod to his Dissociatives past with Paul Mac with a new treatment of Old Man.

Imagination was a triumph worthy of his Purpleness at the height of his powers with the New Power Generation with Johns strapping on the guitar again even as he smashed his synths.

The rest of Australia will be lucky to see this show.

Daniel Johns – Aerial Love [Official Audio]

“The frontman finesse I had back in the day … But we do dream of the future, sweethearts,” he said.

When the crowd sang so beautifully along with him on After All These Years, Johns and his fans were inextricably joined in this new musical adventure.

Johns’ post Silverchair dream is now his future.

www.news.com.au/entertainment/music

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